JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jaguars defensive end Aaron Kampman is out for the season after tearing a knee ligament, leaving Jacksonville without its best pass rusher and a locker-room leader.
Kampman tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a non-contact drill during practice Thursday. Tests Friday revealed the severity the injury. He will be placed on injured reserve and have surgery at a later date.
"It's a shame because he's a special young man in a lot of different ways, not only on the field but in the locker room, in the community," coach Jack Del Rio said.
The Jaguars (4-4) signed Kampman to a four-year, $26 million contract in March to upgrade a defense that had a league-worst 14 sacks in 2009.
The team felt it was getting a bargain even though Kampman tore the ACL in his left knee last November. He recovered in time to make an immediate impact this season and leads the team with four sacks and 30 quarterback pressures.
"Any time you have one of your main guys out for the year, especially with a guy that's not just a starter but an impact player, it hurts," cornerback Rashean Mathis said. "It hurts a lot. But those things happen all the time in the league, week-in and week-out it's bound to happen."
Without Kampman, the Jaguars are expected to move Jeremy Mincey to the right side and insert former first-round draft pick Derrick Harvey back into the starting lineup. Mincey has a broken right hand but is expected to play with a small cast.
"I'm just going to have to step it up another notch," Mincey said. "I'll get the job done, even with a broken hand. That's not going to keep me from emerging. Everybody has to play better. That's the nature of this game. It's what you have to do if you're going to be successful."
Harvey, the eighth overall pick in 2008, has been mostly a disappointment in three seasons. He was benched two weeks ago, but he now gets a chance to redeem himself.
"There is a void there and we have to realize that," Mathis said. "The guys who are stepping up have to realize that the guy they're replacing played some good football. They have to be willing to step up and be able to give us something, give us an impact."
Practicing in shorts, his No. 74 jersey and a helmet, Kampman hurt his knee when he planted his right leg during a pass-rush drill. He immediately suspected it was a torn ACL because he did the same thing to his other knee less than a year ago.
But he held out some hope until test proved otherwise.
"It's disappointing, definitely," Kampman said. "I can honestly say that this last experience has made me a better man, has made me stronger. I have learned tremendous lessons through it, and I guess I've got more lessons to learn. I'll attack it with the same vigor that I did previously and continue to move forward.
"Being a man of faith, I believe you're never given more than you can handle. This is definitely another big one, but ... there's more lessons to learn."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press